Lionel Messi looked back to his best as Barcelona embarrassed Deportivo de La Coruña 8-0. Yes, you read that right. 8-0.
Messi grabbed a goal and two assists in a commanding display, although it was somehow overshadowed by Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez, who was involved in a stunning seven of Barça’s eight goals, netting four times himself and assisting a further three, earning a perfect ten for his performance.
In Boca Juniors’ fixture with Deportivo Cali, forward Carlos Tévez netted twice in a 6-2 rout of the Colombians, meaning Boca qualifies first in its group and it’s scored 10 goals in two matches – quite unheard of this season. Tévez’s performance earned him a Man of the Match award as he looks ahead to this weekend.
It also shows Boca is in fine fettle as it prepares to take on River Plate in Sunday’s Superclásico , a match, no matter how hotly anticipated, will have little bearing on either side’s title prospects, which look out of reach.
Frank Fabra, Andrés Chávez, Leonardo Jara and Sebastián Palacios also got themselves on the scoresheet to ensure Boca finished its Copa Libertadores’ group in first place, after it’d already guaranteed itself progress.
Messi and Barcelona’s dominance is a remarkable turnaround from their recent form, Messi went 515 minutes without scoring – virtually unheard of in his career, but it was bad news for his compatriot ‘El Cholo’ Diego Simeone.
Simeone’s Atlético Madrid scraped past Bilbao 1-0 to remain on level points with Barcelona in a wide open title race, which had previously looked wrapped up for the Catalans, but Barça’s emphatic win signals its intent – and in Neymar, Suárez and Messi, it certainly has the fire-power to capitalize on the upturn in form.
Elsewhere, River Plate will take on Trujillanos FC in its Copa Libertadores fixture at 9:45pm tonight in Buenos Aires – meaning the squad will have one day fewer to rest before the Superclásico.